Rania Khalek Dispatches from the Underclass

The ways of war are changing. Artificial intelligence is used to bomb families in Gaza. Flying drones are deployed to track down refugees on the US-Mexico border. But the biggest change is the one we talk about the least: the privatization of war. From Yemen to Sudan, Syria to Nigeria, tens of thousands of guns for hire now fight on behalf of foreign powers. For Episode 7 of “The International,” a world-spanning video series brought to you by Jacobin and the @ProgIntl, Rania Khalek tells the story of how we got here. It is the tale of an infamous US firm known as Blackwater and the rise of the secret mercenary armies that have pushed warfare into the shadows.

BT’s Rania Khalek appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored to debate Israel’s destruction of Gaza and invasion of Rafah. It was one against three but she held her own.

Why does Europe support Israel so much? What does Europe gain from the occupation of Palestine and further escalation across the Middle East? How much of this is Europe following its own interests versus being subservient to US imperial designs in the region, as we’ve seen with Ukraine? Is Europe actually united on this or are there segments of the body politic that disagree with the US and Israel’s imperialist aims in Gaza? Does the EU have any awareness of its own hypocrisy? And are there consequences for those who speak out against the status quo?

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The historic deal brokered by China for a Saudi-Iran rapprochement reflects not only a changing region, but a shifting world order. While the US focuses on its proxy war in Ukraine, with US officials essentially blocking meaningful peace discussion both there and in Yemen, its “strategic competitor” China now looks like the adult in the room. Its diplomatic initiatives have become a force for stability in the biggest conflict regions, from Yemen to Syria.

To better understand what’s going on and what we can expect, Rania Khalek was joined by Mohammad Marandi, professor of English literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran, Iran. This is just the first half of this episode with Prof. Marandi. Visit Patreon.com to watch the full video and access other exclusive content.

Rania Khalek of Breakthrough News and Zoe Alexandra of @PeoplesDispatch sat down with Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum, the head of government in Mexico City and one of the founders of Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. She is a rising figure in Mexican national politics and a leading contender for the 2024 presidential elections.

Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh joined Rania Khalek on Dispatches to discuss his latest bombshell on how the Biden administration destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline using remotely triggered explosives with the help of the CIA, US Navy divers, and NATO member Norway. This means the US targeted the critical energy infrastructure of its most important European ally, a major violation of sovereignty in what essentially constitutes objectively an act of war against Germany. But Germany is looking the other way.

BT’s Rania Khalek sat down with Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah, in Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah began as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and has since grown to become a regional player across the Middle East. They discussed Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon and the region as well as the group’s view on global developments. This is Qassem’s first interview with an English-language outlet based in the West since the BBC sat down with him in 2019.

Rania Khalek is joined by UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Alena Douhan who returned from a 12-day visit to Syria where she assessed the negative impact of sanctions across the country. Upon her return, she called for the sanctions, which she deems illegal and a violation of human rights, to be lifted immediately. Prof. Douhan holds the UN position of Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights.

When the war in Ukraine began, Western officials bragged that they were going to “turn the ruble into rubble” and bring Russia to its knees. Seven months later, as the war and sanctions drag on with no end in sight, it’s the Euro that is turning to rubble and Europe being brought to its knees. It turns out sanctioning your largest gas supplier with no alternative in place, following years of stagnation and an economy-destroying pandemic, isn’t a great idea. To discuss the economic fallout for the Europe and the impact it’s having under neoliberalism, Rania Khalek was joined by Prahbat Patnaik, Marxist economist, Professor Emeritus at JNU, and author of “Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present,” co-authored with Utsa Patnaik.